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Grand Valley Lanthorn

The Student News Site of Grand Valley State University

Grand Valley Lanthorn

The Student News Site of Grand Valley State University

Grand Valley Lanthorn

GV women’s soccer continues stretch of success

Courtesy GVSU Athletics

Losing has become unfamiliar for the Grand Valley State University women’s soccer team (7-1-3), as the Lakers have won or tied every game since their season-opening loss against Ashland University. 

Closing out a five-game road stretch, GVSU went home with a 2-0 win over Michigan Technological University (4-2-5) on Sunday, Oct. 1 and a 2-1 win over Davenport University (4-3-3) on Friday, Oct. 6. 

The Lakers’ have surrendered just five goals in 10 total games since the loss, but it was not easy against Davenport.

“We were playing against a team that was pressing us really hard and they were really motivated. It took us time to get used to the pressure they were coming to us with and the surface. It wasn’t our cleanest game at all so we understood that it wasn’t going to be a pretty win,” GVSU assistant coach Mario Zuniga-Gil said.

The Lakers went down 1-0 less than 10 minutes in as Panthers’ freshman forward Madison Fant got one past GVSU’s redshirt freshman goalkeeper, Izzy Imes, who stymied Davenport the rest of the way. 

Imes emphasized the importance of a quick answer after allowing an early goal.

“It’s our response and how we bounce back in the next five to ten minutes or so that allows us to keep going and pushing forward and that allows us to keep believing in each other to win games,” Imes said. 

After conceding that goal near the 10-minute mark, Lakers’ freshman Alli French knocked in her third goal of the season, this one unassisted, less than seven minutes later.

French’s early reply set up junior forward Claire Breault, who was able to score the game-winner in the closing moments of the second half.

“First off I was absolutely ecstatic. Not only for it to be my first goal but also to be in a game that mattered and to score the game-winning goal,” Breault said.

The play opened up for Breault, who took advantage of what was given to her.

“I saw the defenders backing off of me so I said, ‘alright, I’ll go one v. one then.’ I just cut it inside to my left, and everyone just kinda kept backing off. It just happened to curve into the lower left-hand corner,” Breault said.

The first career goal was a long time coming for Breault, who has played an average of over 40 minutes per game this season.

“She (Breault) does a great job of beating players to her right and kind of serving the ball,” Zuniga-Gil said. “She drove the ball inside from the right and beat some players, took a shot, and because of the number of people in front of the goal I think it was hard for the goalkeeper to deal with it.” 

It was a tight match, as neither team saw the ball hit the back of the net for nearly 70 minutes of game time when Breault knocked the game-winner in at the 86-minute mark.

“It’s awesome. Especially because in that moment there’s a lot of pressure. Having Claire (Breault) clutch up in the last like five minutes is really huge,” Imes said. “It’s obviously a huge confidence booster for her and us as a team. I mean I’d say I was surprised but I’m not because that’s just who Claire is.” 

The playing surface was a huge factor in the second half as both teams struggled to score. Davenport’s surface is artificial turf, which can be particularly slick in the rain. In Breault’s case, however, it helped her get by the opposing goalkeeper, Gabrianna Bannecke.

Imes faced the same issues that Bannecke did during the match and noticed a difference in how she had to approach the poor playing conditions.

“Definitely as a goalkeeper, you have to be more on your toes and ready to go. The ball is gonna slip and slide, it’s gonna deflect a lot more than regular games,” Imes said.

The GVSU women’s soccer team is happy to be heading home for the next two weeks after a challenging match win.

“The girls know that it is not always gonna be pretty, you know, and I think that the best teams also get away with wins even when they don’t have their best days,” Zuniga-Gil said. “We’re gonna be back at home for a lot of games in the second part of this season so we’re excited about that.”

Next up, the Lakers will play Michigan Tech for their second and final meeting of the regular season against the Huskies.

“I think that’s gonna be another fight. Michigan Tech’s a really good team. We know that their main threat comes from set pieces, corner kicks, free kicks- all that. I think we did a great job of managing those in their field,” Zuniga-Gil said.

The game will be at 7 p.m. on Friday, Oct. 13 at the GVSU Soccer Field in Allendale, Mich. GVSU has five home games left of the seven remaining regular season matches.

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About the Contributor
Nelson Hubbell, Sports Editor
Nelson Hubbell is the Sports Editor for the Lanthorn for the 2023-2024 school year. A senior at Grand Valley State University, before his time with the Lanthorn, he was a staff writer for The Collegiate Live, Grand Rapids Community College's student publication where he was a student for two years. He worked for a restaurant for four and a half years in Holland, Mich. called Hops at 84 East, a place he holds close to his heart. During his time there he was a manager for roughly two years. He loves camping, hiking and being outside in general. He is super passionate about football, basketball, baseball and hockey and loves all things sports and competition. Nelson will be pursuing a career in sportscasting as a play-by-play broadcaster and or as an analyst after his time at GVSU. Graduating Winter 2024 Major: Multimedia Journalism